Feminist Lens #6

I was very intrigued by the discussion that we had in class today about abortion. However, I think that in order to really talk about this controversial topic, I should be better informed about abortion. The “Stuff Mom Never Told You” podcast just came out with “A revisionist History of Abortion” which they clarified was going to be about the United States- it’s a very important distinction to make that I and all transnational feminists must certainly appreciate. Discussions about abortion are different depending on the culture, country, and time and should be addressed as such. This does not imply a lighter stance, but rather, a more accurate and pointed one.

These women, Kristin and Caroline, did this podcast to try and give some context to an issue that has become so mixed into politics and because of this we have forgotten some of the history of abortion. In ancient Greece, Aristotle advised abortion for couples who already had too many children. In ancient Rome, before a mother could feel the first movement of the child, it was still considered just a developing part of her body.  Even the catholic church did not condemn abortions before 40 days arguing that the “soul hadn’t yet entered the fetus” although today, the rhetoric has changed drastically and claims that the soul appears at the moment of conception. Therefore, in general, early abortion (around first trimester) in ancient times was up to the mother’s judgement.

Apparently, herbal remedies were the most common methods at the time where these women would essentially drink teas with ingredients that would poison them (slightly) enough so that the body would have to miscarry the fetus to protect the mother. Still, taking these remedies that were eventually made into pill form, seemed to always be somewhat secretive as is indicated by extensive euphemisms in letters between women and anonymity when visiting doctors who prescribed the remedies. Although, while it wasn’t a moral favorite yet, there were no laws under English Common Law and the early United States, against these abortions. Abortions after this time period, under English Common Law, was punishable by death. Arguably this was still with the mothers safety in mind to deter them from poisoning themselves… so, don’t poison yourselves ladies, or we’ll kill you. Obviously, there was a lot of room for growth back then too.

Feminist Lens #5

Starting a movement means paying attention to the details- it’s essential when you want to send the strongest and challenging message possible. Its understandable that our responsibility is to make sure that we are all working towards the best goals, however, I feel that, sometimes, the discourse deters from the real issues that need to be addressed and focuses attention on distracting critiques of the details.

 

I decided to talk about this aspect of the feminist discourse when I found myself listening to a conversation among my roommates that seemed to correct everything that the third girl wasn’t present to listen to. I feel sometimes (and this may totally be due in part to a lack of understanding) that we often do this to many organizations; we criticize through thorough analysis but often don’t provide an alternative method or solution. What would happen if we were able to take our research a step further and offer solutions that organizations can attempt to consider improvements. Perhaps this is already happening, in which case, I hope it is helping.

 

An article like “Feminism is Female Self-Destruction” from AmeriKa.org  is indicative of only a small slice of the incredibly inaccurate and offensive critiques from those people who continue to be misinformed. Therefore, isn’t it our responsibility to demonstrate our solidarity and our sisterhood especially in the face of ignorance? Who knows? Maybe improvements from within by some experts may be beneficial. On the other hand, perhaps failing to point out these flaws in organizations and movements even just in reports would be detrimental in the long run to the bigger picture?

 

The irony of this line of questioning is that it exemplifies my point exactly. Here I am, writing a blog post about how I think the feminist discourse should improve by spending less time on criticism… The best solution I can muster up is to create a network of researchers that offer solutions, improvements, and possible outcomes as a resource for any organization with honest intentions to be able to make the best impact possible.